Atlanta United is wrapping up their first week on at the training grounds, marking the start of the 2018 campaign. The players took Thursday morning off from the usual cardio to do individual player testing after a whirlwind of an offseason.
Carlos Carmona took a moment to talk about the crowded midfield and where how he fits into it.
“As long as I’m in the eleven really, I’m happy playing any position except goalkeeper,” said Carmona through a translator.
Carmona spent the first part of the 2017 season in a deep-lying position in the midfield while Julian Gressel started in the #8 role that Darlington Nagbe is now expected to occupy. Of course, Atlanta found its groove later on, moving Carmona up to a more forward position while veteran Jeff Larentowicz had arguably the best season of his career shielding the back line.
Stay on the defensive side of the ball, Atlanta United surprised a number of people when they were able to secure Greg Garza on a permanent deal.
Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez aka “LGP” was thrilled to have him come back.
“Greg is a great left back”, said LGP. “It’s important for us because he has really good offensive and defensive shape”
Flanking Garza on the right side is expected to be Franco Escobar who will be expected to improve a back line that finished fourth in the league in goals allowed in 2017.
LGP doesn’t see why they can’t top those numbers.
“This year instead of being in the top five, we’d like to be in the top three if not the best team in terms of goals allowed,” said LGP through a translator.
While the players are still working on getting back into game shape, there are still areas the team can improve including the often-maligned set pieces that fans grumbled about during 2017.
Josef Martinez says they expect to improve on dead ball situations.
“In the coming weeks I’m sure that’s something we will work on as we get into tactics,” said Martinez through a translator. “But we know that set pieces are important for a team because it’s a way you can score goals.”
Atlanta will wrap up work in Atlanta this week before heading to Orlando next Monday. They will stay in Orlando before traveling up to Nashville for the club’s first preseason game.